September 2017 Newsletter

Investment patterns are changing fast

Changing patterns of investment come from blending new technology with changing markets.  FoodStream can help you weave through this maze, contact us on

Some recent investment news is as follows;

  • Coles is seeing shifts from premium to mid-value products due to falling disposable income.    David Jones sees high quality food playing a strategic role in its future.
  • Former Minister Andrew Robb is setting up an Agricultural Fund and has raised $750M for equity farm investment.    
  • Meat and Livestock Australia has identified four major red meat consumer megatrends influencing our beef industry: “more from less”, “great expectations,”   “forever young” and “fear and uncertainty”.   The Australian Agricultural Company is refocussing on the luxury beef market.
  • Protected Cropping Australia, ie ‘greenhouses’ etc see, now has a turnover of $1.8B pa.    Nectar Farms, Costa and FreshZest have expansion plans.
  • The African Development Bank will invest US $24 billion dollars in agriculture as part of its Feed Africa programme – a strategy for agricultural development in Africa.   
  • Kellogg’s, Campbell’s, Heinz etc are being squeezed from both ends as higher end consumers want fresher, healthier food while cost conscious consumers move to cheaper private labels.   Campbell’s at least are moving into higher quality products.
  • The Australian Education City $30B project 770 ha at Werribee will generate 94 000 jobs in education, research and technology.   It will house 80 000 plus people.
  • In 2004, seven of the 10 largest companies in the world were American. Now there are four Chinese, five American, and one Japanese in the top 10.  The United States has been passed by China as number one for supercomputing.
  • Kathmandu expects profits to rise by 13% this year due to better products, prices and on-line content while other retailers report profit downgrades.    Kathmandu has its own design facility, in Christchurch.    


The death rattle of the internal combustion engine?

Is the internal combustion engine on the way out?    Is your technology fading out as well?   FoodStream can help with new ideas, contact us on

    • UBS estimates that the total cost of ownership of an electric car will reach that of a petrol car in 2018.   It estimates electric cars will be 14% of all vehicles by 2025.     Britain has said that all cars must be zero emissions by 2050, France by 2040.   Old carmakers are encumbered by costly old factories and large workforces while the new ones have neither.   


  • Germany’s car makers may be facing their iPhone moment, the near-fatal shock for Nokia when the iPhone was released.   Like Blackberry and Nokia, the German car companies are confronted by Tesla which makes an elegant device based on superior technology.    Volvo will not sell petrol-only engines after 2019, focussing on hybrids.     Hyundai and Kia are developing new hybrid and electric vehicles.   



Is digital disrupting everything?

Well, is almost seems as if it is, in everything but topically especially in retail.      Are your products suitable for the new environments?    Will your technology enable you to make new products?   Contact us on

    • A future fuelled by data.   The future will be fuelled by data and its analysis.   The CEO of U Bank, an NAB subsidiary, spoke of the need for next practice, not best practice.     
    • CSIRO’s Data 61 has done two major studies on blockchain issues and opportunities.   Financial services, supply chains, IoT, risk management and healthcare are areas of opportunity.   The trifecta of cognitive computing, blockchain and quantum computing will be enormously transformative.   
    • Get with the program.    GE Vice Chair Beth Comstock says GE has 100 young businesses looking at new areas of opportunity.  In Australia, GE is spending $250M on healthcare research and $150M on renewables.    She says Australia has to find its place in the world.    GE has a US$2B Industrial Internet platform and has moved from being a company based on technology innovation to one based on business model innovation.     
    • Amazon’s first Australian ‘fulfilment centre’ will be at Dandenong, near Melbourne.   Amazon sacrifices short term profit for long term success and its aspiration for global domination.  It has evolved from an on-line bookseller to a retailer of everything.   About half its sales come from third party retailers and suppliers for which it sells on commission.    Nike, Channel, North Face, Patagonia and Urban Decay found so many third party sellers on Amazon that they had virtually lost control over their marketing.    There are some two million third party sellers on Amazon.   
    • Ahmed Fahour, former Australia Post CEO, says we should stop fretting about Amazon and focus on opportunities for smaller companies to sell through Amazon.    
    • Amazon also has its AWS Cloud computing operation (Amazon Web Services,, which are free to join pay for only what you use, with more than 90 different services).   
    • Amazon Business started a year or so ago in the US and UK and within a year had 400 000 clients and 45 000 sellers, with $1B in sales.    Car parts retailers are worried about Amazon.    
    • Amazon has also taken over the US Whole Foods chain, for US$13.7B
    • Bank branches are closing as people move to digital banking.    If people are used to digital banking will they move to digital retail?    
    • Business and financial innovation is focusing on artificial intelligence and blockchain.    The Central Banks of Canada and Singapore are looking at the implications of blockchain.   Microsoft Research AI has just launched, to try and catch up with Google and Facebook.   Blockchain allows financial transactions between two parties without a financial intermediary, ie a bank.    
    • Blockchain has the potential to make big changes in agriculture, in making transactions easier and facilitating traceback systems.   
    • The total market capitalisation of all cryptocurrencies is now about $100B.  There are about 700 blockchain companies.    ICOs have overtaken IPOs in number.    
    • Real world uses of AI includes dispensing medicines, where 350 000 prescriptions have been dispended with no errors, a Hong Kong company which has replaced a Board member with a computer system and a Japanese company is using a computer to assess insurance payouts.


  • Making toys and toy components at home via 3D manufacturing using on-line designs available through companies such as the UK MyMiniFactory, which has sales of $65M pa.   The MyMiniFactory community has 30,000 guaranteed 3D printable objects by more than 5,000 designers.  



Case Study

FoodStream member Chris Bourne has won a Department of Foreign Affairs LAUNCH grant to assist with microcanning for tuna in the Pacific Islands.   Chris has done extensive study and work on various aspects of thermal food processing.   

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) uses the LAUNCH program ( to identify new development tools for the Pacific Islands region.   

DFAT has announced a new $4 million AUD investment in up to 16 innovations designed to combat malnutrition in the Indo-Pacific region. These innovations will contribute toward improved nutrition outcomes, and many will specifically benefit communities in the Pacific Islands region.

Chris’s LAUNCH funded program will train micro-canners in Pacific Islands to help improve food security and provide employment and business opportunities. Through this investment, the project will undertake a nutritional analysis and develop technical training packages for micro-canning business, and investigate the potential to establish foodbanks in several countries.

More as this project gets underway.


Training News

In July we presented our annual “Applied Food & Feed Extrusion” course in Thailand.  We enjoy this “applied” – program, in which we make five different products over the three days, using three different types of extruder.  And feedback indicates the participants get value from it as well, as we can cover the principles involved in extrusion in a very practical way.  But it is only possible because of the cooperation of staff at the Institute for Food Research & Product Development at Kasetsart University, and we appreciate their efforts.

We have also just completed our annual Australian “Feed & Feed Extrusion” program at CSIRO Werribee.  A smaller group this time, but lots of participation/discussion, which makes the training better for everyone.

In less positive news, we have had to re-schedule our planned “Food Extrusion Technology” course in Switzerland from September to February 2018.

But we are offering our thermal processing program – the “Retort Supervisor’s Course” in Qld from 31 October to 3 November, We also cover Can Seam Analysis for those processing in steel can, with alternative retort practical work available for other participants.

And don’t forget our Food Drying Technology course in cooperation with CSIRO Werribee – coming up in March.

The courses are organised through Food Industry Engineering (FiE) – Direct links to coming programs:

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